Anger

I’ve written about anger before, but feel the urge to do so again. It’s amazing the immediate release I feel when I make my anger trigger deeper introspection instead of just more blind rage. It feels like such a triumph to pinpoint the emotion my anger is concealing and calmly confront myself with the knowledge that there’s more going on than me just being angry. And, weirdly, considering those deeper emotions and their origins usually makes me feel calmer. It’s as though my inner self is telling me I need to do the hard work of learning to become self-aware before I can ever find peace or contentment.

I notice I often excuse my anger as righteous. If I am angry about an injustice, I feel justified in allowing myself the anger. However, anger itself is not helpful. Logical thinking, planning, and knowledge are more helpful to foster positive change than pure anger. Anger is disempowering, chaotic, and counterproductive, while self-awareness is empowering, peace-inducing, and change-making.

The Number of Friends You Have Doesn’t Define You

I’ve been thinking about how often we use someone’s popularity to ascribe to them the level of worth we believe they deserve. As I have gotten older I find it harder to make and maintain friendships. I prioritize similar values much more highly than other traits and characteristics, such as similar hobbies, appearance, or even personality. I also suffer from social and generalized anxiety.

Do you struggle with making or keeping friends and perhaps relate to some of what I’ve written here? I would love to hear others’ thoughts on this topic.

Boundaries

I know I’ve written about boundaries before. I feel it’s such an important topic. Having strong, healthy boundaries is often the difference between staying true to yourself or going “whichever way the wind blows.” There are many different types of boundaries.

Physical boundaries can include who you let in your home or who you let touch you. Time boundaries determine how much time you’re willing to spend on a given activity. We all only have so much time and in order to decide how to spend it, some things must be sacrificed. Emotional boundaries can include not spending time around toxic people or limiting the amount of time you spend around them. It can also include protecting yourself from triggers. Sexual boundaries include determining which sexual activities you engage in, when, where, and with whom. Financial boundaries can include not spending more than a certain amount on eating out monthly, requiring a certain salary before accepting a job, or not loaning money. Material boundaries can include not owning a lot of stuff, minimizing stuff so that it doesn’t create an unnecessary burden or so that your priorities do not become skewed. Intellectual boundaries can include refusal to believe something without evidence or not holding a certain position just because your friends and family do.

I often have trouble with striking a balance and maintaining healthy, not rigid or porous boundaries — speaking up for myself and saying “no” when need be, while allowing wiggle room for exceptions. But I am working on it.

Finding Out Who I Am

I have realized I need to stop trying to “find out who I am.” This expression is overly dramatic, as well as scary, in my opinion. To be disconnected from myself is a terrifying feeling. In reality, I already have myself. I do not need to find myself. I am myself. I think spending time in nature and staying busy doing the things I enjoy will help me learn more about myself. I feel like I create myself little by little, and more puzzle pieces start falling in place. How are you creating yourself?

Soulmates

I don’t believe in the concept of “soulmates,” and believe it to be an inherently self-defeating concept and unreachable standard. I think about how many people have multiple happy marriages and how many people agonize over not finding “the One.” I believe you’re lucky to find someone who aligns with your values and your personality, and who understands how to engage in healthy conflict. The idea of “soulmates” seems metaphysical and borne of religion. You can go your entire life wondering if your partner is “the One,” constantly comparing them to an abstract you hold in your head, without appreciating them for who they are and how they complement your life. Not feeling as though you’ve met your “soulmate”, you’re bound to feel like a failure. Does anybody else agree or have a different perspective they’d like to share?

Subconscious Influence and Its Role in Desire and Decision-Making

I’ve been thinking about subconscious influence and how it covertly affects the decisions I make. For example, for those of you who wear make-up, do you ever ask yourselves why you wear it? I started wearing make-up as a teenager to hide acne and redness. I continued to wear it regularly throughout my early 20’s. I didn’t necessarily see it as fun or as creative expression. I felt I had to wear it to be socially acceptable. I think a lot of women believe it is their own choice to wear make-up without realizing our choices and preferences are not created in a vacuum. Even if we don’t realize it, we are subconsciously being pushed towards certain values and standards and away from others. It’s just something I try to be aware of. Today, I wear lip color from time to time when I feel like it but no face make-up. I don’t like the feeling I am wearing a mask or covering up my own skin. Make-up has also started to irritate my eyes and skin and I just don’t really have the motivation to try mineral make-up. The older I get, the less I care about such things. When it comes to other issues, whether it be my hair, jewelry, the clothes and shoes I wear, or something else, I try to think critically about why I make the choices o make and if they are internally or externally-motivated. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Choices

Is anybody else ever saddened by the fact that by the choices you make and opportunities you take, you’re by default losing out on other choices and opportunities? That it’s impossible to live in or even visit all the countries that exist, meet people from every cultural group (some countries having a very large number of subcultures), learn all the world’s languages, work all the types of jobs you want to try out, take all the courses you want to take, obtain an in-depth knowledge of all the topics that interest you, have all the experiences you want? To me, this realization is crushing.

What Do You Like About Yourself?

I find it easy to dwell on the things I don’t like about myself. However, when I consider my qualities and the things I believe I do well, I find several positive things to say about myself. For example, I am passionate, I’m a good writer, I love to learn, I’m a critical thinker, I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, I’m hardworking, I’m loyal, I’m creative, I’m organized, I help others, and I never give up.

What are some traits about yourselves that you admire?

Are Your Goals Your Own?

I’m realizing how easy it is to delude yourself into believing that your goals are your own. Most goals come down to one thing — pleasing others, fitting in, checking off boxes. Do your goals excite you? Are they in line with who you are? Do they honor your interests, strengths, and values? If not, examine them critically to ensure they are not interlopers, others’ goals for you masquerading themselves as your own. I’m currently working on this.

Quick Anxiety-Reducing Tips

I struggle with anxiety and I have learned what helps me during these times. Although different coping techniques work for different people, I decided I would share mine with you in hopes they might help somebody.

Drink water — I feel more clear-headed, positive, and emotionally stable when I am hydrated. On the contrary, I feel foggy-headed and am more vulnerable to negative emotions when I am dehydrated.

Get outside — I feel calmer and uplifted when I spend some time outside, especially if the weather is nice.

Take a hot shower — For me, showers are like being back in the womb. They’re cocooning and allow me both to experience a level of sensory deprivation (everything going on outside the shower stall falls away), while also experiencing some positive and calming sensory input (the roar of the shower in my ears and the pounding water on my body).

Exercise — Moving my body is an almost immediate anxiety lifter. It feels good to be active, to strengthen my body, and to engage in this type of self-care.

Deep breathe — Anxiety leads to shallow breathing, which can lead to more anxiety in what becomes a vicious cycle. Simply concentrating on my breathing and taking deep breaths calms and centers me.

Repeat a mantra — I will sometimes self-soothe by repeating a mantra such as “Everything will be okay” or “It’s not that serious”. Sometimes vocally contradicting the anxiety results in it dissipating.

Start cleaning/straightening — A clean, uncluttered environment has always made me feel more in control of myself. On the contrary, a messy, chaotic environment contributes to my bouts of anxiety.

Think grateful thoughts — Considering what I’m grateful for always calms me and helps put my worries and concerns in context. The situation is almost never as dire as I make it out to be.

Talk to somebody — Being alone can aid the anxiety in continuing. Sometimes just talking with a friendly person can cause the cycle of negative thoughts and emotions to end.

What are some ways you successfully battle anxiety?